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City Celebrates Legacy of Frederick Douglass with Statue Restoration

Frederick Douglass statue.

“Frederick Douglass is integral to the fabric of Rochester,” says Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans, and in a continued celebration of Frederick Douglass’ legacy, the City has acquired 10 of the Frederick Douglass statues originally created for the “Year of Douglass” Bicentennial Commemoration in 2018.

“These statues have become beloved landmarks in our community beyond the moment in time they were designed to celebrate,” Evans said.

The statues will be removed temporarily to undergo repair and restoration before returning to the community in new indoor locations to be protected and continue bringing life to Douglass’ legacy for years to come. After repairs are completed, the statues will return to public display at locations including Rochester City Hall, the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, and the Aqueduct Building, nearby where Frederick Douglass produced The North Star and The Frederick Douglass Newspaper.

Rochester artist Olivia Kim, who first created the statues, will make repairs of the epoxy resin creations that reflect wear from having been on display outdoors for nearly five years, two years longer than initially planned.

“We look forward to returning these statues to their original grandeur so that they can continue to inspire and educate,” said Evans.

Thirteen statues were originally part of the “Year of Douglass,” a multi-organization initiative spearheaded by Rochester Community Television (RCTV) and Rochester Contemporary Art Center.

The City of Rochester purchased its 10 statues from RCTV. The remaining three statues are in the care of RCTV, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, and the University of Rochester. A fourteenth statue was privately commissioned and remains in private ownership.

“We will update the community when we have more information on when the Frederick Douglass statues will be installed in their new locations,” said Barbara Pierce, City of Rochester Director of Communications. “It will be a moment to celebrate for us all.”

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